Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Carmel on the Case: Crash Course
Law enforcement will be out in full-force during this holiday season looking to lock up those who choose to drink and drive, but did police blow a chance to test a teen who was driving with an open bottle of booze in the car months ago? Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is On the Case with this crash course.
Paris Rayneri: "I looked out the window and all I saw was smoke. I was just so scared."
Chris Rayneri: "It looked just like a bomb went off."
Carmel Cafiero: "Long after the accident, the skid marks are still prominent. They tell the story of what happened here."
It appears the 18-year-old driver tried to stop that morning in Southwest Miami-Dade, but could not control the car Chris Rayneri lives in the house that was damaged.
Chris Rayneri: "He's the one that to me appeared as he was very incoherent."
A 20 and 21-year-old were passengers according to the police report. The driver was not tested for DUI despite an open bottle of Vodka in the vehicle.
Chris Rayneri: "They said they had no DUI units available that can come out here. They said that they didn't have any Saturday and Sunday nights, and if they did, they would be at Miami Beach that's where they're at."
In his report, the officer at the scene wrote he "Did not observe signs of impairment" by the driver. The teen was ticketed for having an open container and for careless driving. The next stop was a Miami-Dade courtroom.
Judge Robert Deehl: "Tremendous amount of damage."
The teen was not in court but was represented by an attorney Rayneri was there and answered questions the judge raised about the alcohol.
Judge Robert Deehl: "Where was this open container of vodka?"
Chris Rayneri: "In the back seat and the pictures reflect that."
Judge Robert Deehl: "Was he sober or under the influence?"
Chris Rayneri: "In my opinion, he was under the influence. He was completely."
Defense attorney: "Judge, I'm going to object to that."
Judge: "I believe says 'Alright.'"
The judge then turned his attention to Miami Dade Police Officer Maurice Henry.
Judge Robert Deehl: "Did you see this vodka that he's telling me about?"
Officer Henry: "Yes I did, it was in the back seat, right side of the vehicle."
Judge Robert Deehl: "Was there any vodka left in the containers?"
Officer Henry: "There was, it was about halfway filled with liquid, I didn't verify that it was vodka."
After listening to the testimony the judge ruled.
Judge Robert Deehl: "I find him guilty of causing this accident, violating the container law. Open container law tremendous accident at 4 a.m."
Miami-Dade police told 7News there were no DUI units available to respond that night. When we asked why we were told it was "irrelevant" since the "driver was not exhibiting signs of impairment." Rayneri says it's simple.
Chris Rayneri: "There should have been somebody that could have come out here, and checked these kids out, to see if they were drunk."
If the teen had been drinking a test would have proved it, and if he had not, a test would have cleared him.
Instead, Rayneri's crash course has left him with suspicions and expensive repairs.
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